and Employment



routine algorithm artificial intelligence
boon advances automation
boring repetitive proponent
agree oversee autonomous
claim have to responsibility
free (2) level (3) benefit (2)
employ guidance meaningful
skeptic distribute put out of work
career employer temporary
end up junk food employable
snack perform challenging
suit (2) mindless warehouse
crew conceive carry (carried)
load wheeler transition
junk minimal real world
deliver order (3) promotion (2)
offer store (2) content (2)
route provide believe (2)
Team thing (2) opportunity
wheel creative unemployed
replace accelerate permanent
hire bright (2) exceptional
thrive aptitude drive/drove/driven (2)
STEM assume build/built/built (2)
skill relatively enthusiasm
peers executive guarantee (2)


The Benefits of Automation

Proponents of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and algorithms tell the public that these are a boon to the working man and woman.

“Technology will do boring, routine, repetitive, and labor-intensive tasks, autonomously without guidance from human overseers, since they will all be preprogrammed,” they claim.

In their view, advanced AI would free workers from having to perform low-level work, with the benefit of giving them the opportunity to do more meaningful, creative, and higher-level work.

The Drawbacks

Others disagree: technology would put millions of people out of work. And while some might successfully transition to new careers, many, for various reasons, will not be able to do so. And they will end up permanently unemployable.

In the real world, a large part of the work force may not be fully capable of performing tasks that require technical skills and critical thinking with high-levels of responsibility.

Warehouse Work

When Jeff got his first job at a warehouse in the late 1970s, he and his crew’s main duties was in fact pretty mindless: unloading 18-wheelers (18-wheel trucks) carrying boxes of the product they distributed — junk snack food such as potato chips — and placing them in the storage rooms.

And the guys doing it were perfectly content.

At one point, Jeff was offered a promotion to a route driver, delivering orders to stores . . . with an increase in his wage.

But after a few weeks he asked to be back in the warehouse.

“You would think I’m stupid,” Jeff said to his team. “But I’m not; I just don’t like responsibility and time pressure.”

AI and Robots

Augustine Walker, an executive with an AI solutions provider, recently said:

“AI will give people different opportunities to do different, interesting things they never conceived of before. Workers will not be unemployed; they’ll be differently employed.”

However, this assumes:

(a) there is a job waiting for them that for some reason AI or robots can’t do,
(b) they can learn these new skills, and
(c) employers will want to hire them, especially those workers over 50.

These are big ifs.

Also Walker and other exceptionally bright people who likely went to college for a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) degree have trouble understanding that many people are just not endowed to thrive in a fast-changing, technology-driven world for which they have little aptitude nor enthusiasm.

And despite believing these workers will be relatively safe from being replaced by AI, Walker and his peers cannot guarantee full employment or close to it as the changes in the workplace accelerate.

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ENIAC. There is unanimous agreement regarding automation, AI, robotics and algorithms and employment. True or false?

Mainframe Computer. Do proponents say technology will benefit workers? What do the proponents say?

Personal Computer, Desktop Computer. Critics believe that automation will create more opportunities for everyone. Is this right or wrong?

What real life example does the writer give? Did Jeff work on the assembly floor of a factory?

Jeff and his team members all wanted to become technicians and managers. Is this correct or incorrect?

Smartphone. What sort of future do technological optimists envisage? How do they see the future? What kind of individuals are likely to succeed?

Smart Watches, Smart Glasses. Describe most people or workers. What may be the future for most workers, according to pessimists or “realists”?


The Internet.. There has been much technological change in my profession and industry. Yes or no?

ARPANet.. Has technology enhanced your work, performance, productivity or output?

World Wide Web.. Technology has made many workers redundant. Automation has caused many workers to be laid off. True or false? Do you know anyone who has lost their job to automation?

Cyberspace.. What might happen in the future?

Cloud Computing.. Should people, schools and governments do anything?

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